Pursuing Brush Strokes

"I'm emotionally scarred and shocked; I couldn't even cry when we ran away from our home; I thought I'd return after a few days, but then I realized we'd never go back, which was heartbreaking and stressful. From over the border, I watched as my town was bombed and destroyed. Right in front of my eyes, the city was being destroyed, and rocket strikes were still hitting Turkey,” these are the words of Jindar Müslim Syrian migrant woman. 

Jindar had a lot of ambitious plans for her life: to study, have higher education, and attend art school. She had never thought her life could turn upside down so quickly: due to the war conflict, she got internally displaced from her hometown Aleppo, and then she had to leave Syria for Turkey seeking safety. With lots of pain, Jindar recalls her fleeing the country and tells that she was really lucky to cross the border and arrive in Turkey safely. 

To start a new life in Turkey was a challenging journey for Jindar. She studied in Arabic before, and to continue her education in Turkey, she had to start from scratch. She didn’t give up an idea of going to art school too, however, there was nobody to guide her and advise – she was the first in her family wishing to apply to university and get higher education. 

Luckily, she has some relatives in Turkey who helped her settle in, gets medical care, and find her way in a new country. Jindar started with volunteering: she helped Syrian children living in tents in Suruç. "I was able to heal myself by helping others," she explained. 

A little bit later Jindar learned about painting activities “Brilliant Brushes” organized by the IOM Psychosocial Support (PSS) Mobile Team. Without hesitation, she enrolled on the course. “It improved my mental health and well-being. I made new friends who shared my passions. And I'm still working on my drawing skills," Jindar shared her thoughts.  

The painting sessions helped Jindar cope with stress, which in turn improved her relationship and communication with her daughter. “I regained my passion for art and increased my self-esteem. . I want to continue my training to become an artist. Painting and drawing are not as common in the community as music or other practices. I want to open my own handicraft shop and start drawing workshop," told Jindar about her plans. Moreover, Jindar has already thought through a marketing plan: she thinks of selling her works online and creating a YouTube channel to inspire and encourage people. Jindar’s love to support others and share her knowledge paid her back: today she is a facilitator of one of  IOM's current PSS activity/. “Drawing brings me joy and relieves stress, I let myself go with the process, giving myself a break from my daily problems,” she said. 

Having gone through a lot of challenges and experiences, Jindar gives advice to everyone who needs support, “Don’t focus on bad things, try to do things you like, don’t hide in a shell. Positive thinking will change your life for the better and give you hope for the future. Work more to improve your life. If you don’t change yourself, nobody will do it for you.”